After claiming five ATP crowns in 2014, Roger Federer went even further the following season. Federer lifted six trophies in 2015, including a title defense in his hometown of Basel. On November 1, Federer defeated his great rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and three minutes for the seventh Basel crown and the first win over the Spaniard since the 2012 Australian Open! !
Between 2013 and 2014, Rafa lost only one set in five meetings against Roger. The Swiss had a perfect opportunity to avenge some of those defeats in front of the home crowd. Having the advantage with a roof over his head, Federer scored his fifth indoor victory over Nadal in six meetings.
Philipp Kohlschreiber and David Goffin took a set from Roger, but the home favorite did enough to clear four hurdles and reach the title match for the tenth time in a row. Nadal beat Lukas Rosol in the first round and defeated Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet to advance to the final, seeking the first indoor hard crown ten years after Madrid 2005.
Both players served at 68% and Roger got more than that. He hit 33 winners to Rafa’s 17 and outplayed the opponent in the shortest exchanges to create the crucial difference. They had a similar number of groundstroke winners.
At the same time, Roger dominated at net, keeping the points on his racket and hitting ten volley winners to push Nadal out of his comfort zone and avoid prolonged rallies. Federer had almost twice as many winners as Nadal.
He mastered his shots very well to avoid too many unforced errors and adequately defended his backhand wing to only get broken once. Nadal played against seven break chances and suffered three breaks, unable to keep up with Roger in shorter rallies or impose his shots and prolong rallies.
Rafa held to 15 in the opening game after a backhand down the line winner and created a break chance in game two that could have given him an early boost.
In 2015, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in a Basel grand final.
Roger saved it with a volley winner and converted the third down in game five to move 3-2 up when his forehand barely hit the line.
Nadal had a chance to recover the break in the next one. Still, Federer hit a forehand crosscourt winner to repel it and advanced 4-2 with two service winners. Serving to stay in the set at 3-5, Nadal was broken to love after Federer’s forehand winner, and the home favorite sealed the first set in 37 minutes to get a big boost.
Another fantastic forehand put Federer in front early in the second set. He held onto a service winner in games three and five to maintain the advantage and increase the pressure on Rafa. The Spaniard saved a break chance at 2-3 with a service winner.
Both served well until 5-5, when Roger missed an easy forehand to offer his opponent a break chance. Nadal converted it with a deep backhand attack and delivered his best hold of the match with four winners to take the set 7-5 and force a decider.
Rafa erased a break chance with a backhand crosscourt winner in game four. However, he couldn’t do the same at 3-4, losing a backhand exchange and sending Roger 5-3 up. Nadal stayed in the next game with a backhand winner before Federer launched a staggering attack for another match point.
He converted it with an unreturned serve to celebrate the title and the first win over Rafa in over three and a half years!